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Imagine camping amongst Volcanic Rock Formations and Golden Sanded Beaches

Located in the Cape Hillsborough National Park, Smalleys Beach Camping Ground could easily be the best campsite in Queensland. It is surely one of best campsite I have seen on the East Australian Coast.

The campsite is relaxing, tranquil, well located and booked out a week in advance; it’s not hard to see why. Smalleys Beach is the only state-run camping facility of the area. As such, it is managed by the local rangers and has your basics facilities, but no bells or whistles. This keep away a lot of the grey nomads in their epic motor homes with their loud TVs.

The campgrounds are made up on 11 sites which run parallel to the beach. Each site has it’s own private beach access. Let me repeat that. Each site, for which you are paying less than $6 per person per night, has it’s own private beach entrance. As I said before, this might just be the best campsite in Queensland. The beach is swim-able in the winter months however being North Queensland, stingers reside in the water in the summer months.

The sites are all great, no one is better than the other. We stayed in site 4 and were close (but not too close) to the bathrooms. Sites 4 and 5 both back onto the bathrooms, with sites 1 and 11 the furthest away, however this also makes them the most private. The sites are all large, very large in-fact, giving enough space to really spread yourself out, put up your clothes line, do yoga, have a dance party, whatever rings your bell.

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The rangers check the grounds daily so be sure to hang your permit on the numbered pole at the from of your site when you’re setting up. The rangers also clean the bathrooms daily and put chemicals into the drop toilets. Special note, the best time to use the toilets is right after the ranger has been. They can get a little stinky.

What else makes this the best campsite in Queensland? Well… this picture above, with the clear water, blue and green hills was the exact view from the beach in front of our campsite. The exact view!

It is also close enough to Mackay and it’s farming region to head out to work everyday, then relax back at base-camp as the sun sets. See our full article on Cape Hillsbourgh National Park for more info about the surrounding area.

In short. Go here. It is magical. We cannot wait to return

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Address: I’m unsure what the exact address is but can give you pretty good directions. Take the Cape Hillsborough turnoff from Yakapari-Seaforth Rd (if you hit Seaforth you have gone too far). From here you will see a dirt road about 7 or 8kms that says Smalleys Beach Rd (or maybe just Smalleys Beach). Follow the dirt road, that is well graded and easy for a conventional vehicle to drive on, until you get to the camping grounds. Easy!

Cost for an unpowered campsite: $5.95 per person per night

How to book: Book online using the ParksQ system or on the phone via the Queensland-wide National Parks booking service on 13 74 68.


Please share your stories with me, and let me know if you think that this is this the best campsite in Queensland too!

Monique Thorpe /

Hi travellers! I am Monique. My partner and I sold all of our belongings, purchased a car and tent and set out to travel Australia. We are documenting our travels, our money saving tips and campsite reviews on our travel blog, and hope that these articles will make your life and travels a little happier, easier and cheaper!

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